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sarahbn

New here, getting divorced

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Hi. After 20 years of abuse (the first 12 tolerable, the last 8 unbearable) I am finally getting a divorce. I have 4 kids and my husband and I were sealed in the temple. I have struggled so much with this. I have tried everything. And the answer I've been getting both inside and outside the temple is that there was nothing I could do to preserve the marriage, my husband had decided that it wasn't worth his while to put in the effort so it didn't matter how much I did. And boy, did I do much. We went to counseling, he got the counselor to support him in the abuse. I've been through any number of attitude adjustments. I sacrificed so much of myself to protect my kids from the worst of the abuse that I literally almost died. Even up until the day I filed I was reading self-help books on how to save abusive marriages. All of them said that the abuser needed to change too and there was little that the abusee could do to make them change if they didn't want to. And the truth is my husband had no reason to change. As long as he could still check that "married" box, he had what he wanted and it didn't matter to him how miserable his wife was, as long as he had me in his possession.

I'm having trouble with my bishop, who doesn't seem to think that what my husband did was wrong enough that he ought to have to repent of it. He is also holding me responsible for the gossip others are spreading about the relationship. People are telling me that if I have a problem with my bishop and how he's handling it, it means I'm committing some kind of sin. I know that the bishop is a man with a calling, but he is just a man and is subject to all the same prejudices and blind spots that people in general have. But I still want to know if I'm overlooking something here. I had a blessing yesterday and it said I'm not under condemnation, but I don't want to leave any stone unturned in trying to root out any source of sin or rebellion.

I used to be a really good woman. Now I'm what's left over after a good woman has been ground into the dirt.

I'm not here to look for a relationship-- I'm so not ready for that right now. I guess I just want to know that the Lord loves me, that He wouldn't condone me being abused for all eternity, and that I'm not so badly damaged that the Lord can't make me into a woman worth taking to the temple, this time by a worthy man.

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No one should put up with being abused - heavenly father loves his children and wants us all to have Joy - what you have gone thru is far from Joyous!

I am sure that it will take you a long time to recovered from what you have gone thru but in time you will start, I hope, to feel worthy of being loved and able to love again.

Stay strong!

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There's a REASON why abuse, adultery, and addiction are all valid / divorce worthy.

The bad news... It statistically takes us 5 years to get back to feeling normal. I'm a few years out, and still coming up with exciting & new understanding into how screwed up my abusive marriage made me.

Upside... We had a fantastic counselor... Who was VERY nervous about seeing us, as marriage counseling is all about shared blame / takes 2 to tango, so he was concerned that counseling would end up making things worse (as it often does) by "justifying" the abuse in the abuser's eyes. As such we had to sign a contract that there would be no more instances of spousal abuse. I don't remember if it was 4 weeks or 5 weeks later that he fractured my skull. Regardless... Our counselor was dead on about counseling making this worse.

I'm glad it did, honestly.

(And that our counselor was so cognizant of that little side effect).

I would have been happier if the abuse had STOPPED... But it was already so intolerably bad... It couldn't keep on the way it was. It either need to get better, or we were done.

The skull fracture was a nice "Even for your thick skull Quinn, take the PR, that this is DONE".

Drop your idiot counselor like a hot rock, and find someone to help out.

Because, sadly, things are going to get worse for awhile.

They do get better.

Promise.

But things are about to go sideways.

Unfortunately, just leaving isn't usually enough.

Q

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Quin, that's just what happened with our counselor. My husband's MO is that he claims he was just too stupid to understand what he was doing and that because he did it in total ignorance, I have to forgive him (read: let him do whatever the heck he wants to me as many times as he feels like it). This works really well for him until you stop forgetting about all the previous times, at which point you realize that if he was actually that phenomenally stupid he wouldn't be able to take care of his own personal hygiene, let alone hold down a job. The counselor kept telling me that I had to stop being so critical of every little thing he does and be willing to allow him to make mistakes and not require him to be perfect all the time. When I tried to point out that there's no possible way they could all be mistakes, the counselor shut me down. My husband is either an abuser, or he's the world's unluckiest guy because everything he bumbles into is just coincidentally the same sort of stuff a controlling abuser would do. He's got everybody believing the latter.

He has never gotten physical with me (yet...) and he's only physically abused the kids a few times because that's all it took to get me into line. I protected them whenever and however I could. But the kids are telling me stuff he's been doing on his visitation days and it sounds like he's just about reached his good-behavior limit and is about to snap. They're under strict instructions what to do if he does, hopefully it will not be bad enough to actually do damage to anyone.

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Abuse is obviously wrong, but you still haven't defined what is going on.

Domestic violence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships

Please select from one or more of the list provided in above links. When you say physically abused the kids, what do you mean? He has spanked them or he's kicked them and caused bruises?

No one except you knows what is really going on, but you obviously have a huge amount of anger and hate towards your spouse. You've mentioned in generalities a lot of things that reflect an extremely poor marriage, but you haven't mentioned anything that constitutes abuse (besides the fact that you claim he abuses you and the kids). Quin mentions things that have happened that are so utterly wrong . . . my goodness Quin . . .

In the above response, you mentioned the following words in regard to your spouse, "too stupid", "ignorant", "bumbling", "phenomenally stupid", ""bumbles", "unluckiest guy".

I'm curious if you ever decided to try a second counselor?

Also this doesn't make sense to me. "But the kids are telling me stuff he's been doing on his visitation days and it sounds like he's just about reached his good-behavior limit and is about to snap. They're under strict instructions what to do if he does, hopefully it will not be bad enough to actually do damage to anyone."

So are you already divorced? Or just separated now and you have a visitation arrangement setup outside of the court system? I'm kind of confused because I thought generally speaking people don't talk about visitation days unless it's court ordered?

Edited by yjacket

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That WAS the second counselor. Those words all describe how he portrays himself. I don't hate him. I hate what he did to me and to our kids. I pray for him every day. Inside his mind he is a poor abused child who cannot be held accountable for his actions. For the sake of our kids I hope he can change and heal.

Emotional abuse is hard to describe. One thing that makes me angry (actually angry, not how you think I feel about my husband) is when people ask me to condense 20 years of abuse down into 2 minutes of a description of one incident, then say "well it was just that one incident! That's not so bad, you must not have been abused if you can sum it up in 2 minutes!"

It's a pattern. He threatens harm to our kids, either emotional or physical harm, if I don't do what he wants. My kids have not been spectacularly physically harmed because of things I've done to make sure they weren't. People like you love to take that as evidence that there wasn't any abuse at all and I'm just making it up or something.

I don't owe you or anybody else a 1000 page treatise on every incident of abuse. Even knowing about all the times I prayed for God to let me die rather than live another day in fear and degradation will not be enough to convince someone like you.

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That WAS the second counselor. Those words all describe how he portrays himself. I don't hate him. I hate what he did to me and to our kids. I pray for him every day. Inside his mind he is a poor abused child who cannot be held accountable for his actions. For the sake of our kids I hope he can change and heal.

Emotional abuse is hard to describe. One thing that makes me angry (actually angry, not how you think I feel about my husband) is when people ask me to condense 20 years of abuse down into 2 minutes of a description of one incident, then say "well it was just that one incident! That's not so bad, you must not have been abused if you can sum it up in 2 minutes!"

It's a pattern. He threatens harm to our kids, either emotional or physical harm, if I don't do what he wants. My kids have not been spectacularly physically harmed because of things I've done to make sure they weren't. People like you love to take that as evidence that there wasn't any abuse at all and I'm just making it up or something.

I don't owe you or anybody else a 1000 page treatise on every incident of abuse. Even knowing about all the times I prayed for God to let me die rather than live another day in fear and degradation will not be enough to convince someone like you.

Quite an over-reaction to some simple questions.

Have you ever addressed your anger issues in counseling?

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You know what? Forget it. I was hoping I'd find some spiritual support here in dealing with the consequences of abuse. Instead all I'm getting are armchair psychoanalyst picking me apart. You should rename this place ArmchairAnalysts.net.

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Sarahbn,

In your first post, you stated this...

But I still want to know if I'm overlooking something here. I had a blessing yesterday and it said I'm not under condemnation, but I don't want to leave any stone unturned in trying to root out any source of sin or rebellion.

... and now you're condemning the board for asking questions and seeking clarification?

Just something to think about.

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My husband is either an abuser, or he's the world's unluckiest guy because everything he bumbles into is just coincidentally the same sort of stuff a controlling abuser would do. He's got everybody believing the latter.

Or he's a charming manipulator.

He has never gotten physical with me (yet...) and he's only physically abused the kids a few times because that's all it took to get me into line.

So, your husband used your CHILDREN to manipulate you to "get you into line"?

May I ask how long you were in counseling? I ask because it could be that he's putting up such a façade, that it takes time for the REAL person to come out.

When I went to counseling with my (now) ex-wife, I was willing to admit to anything & everything. If the counselor could help with change, I was ready and willing. But if he's not ready & willing to make changes... it will take time for the counselor to help him because of the façade he's built up.

Until he's willing to show the "real" person that he is... counseling is just an expensive talking session.

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You know what? Forget it. I was hoping I'd find some spiritual support here in dealing with the consequences of abuse. Instead all I'm getting are armchair psychoanalyst picking me apart. You should rename this place ArmchairAnalysts.net.

And my question stands.

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Sarah I'm so sorry you are going through this. I know exactly what it's like to be in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage. I was in one for 14 years. You start believing what you are told every single day.

Now 14 years later after a divorce and not being in any kind of a relationship by choice, I've learned a lot. I've learned I'm a much stronger and better person than I was led to believe. In 14 years, he's made no attempt to see our children. Just to give you an example of the kind of man he is.

At first financially it was a nightmare (well it still is sometimes) but emotionally I'm in so much of a better place.

I wish you well in your decisions. It's not easy but take it one day at a time and you will get through this.

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You certainly don't owe me or anyone else an explanation; I was trying to understand better what was going on as several things didn't make sense to me and still don't make sense to me as in the process of writing things down several things have been left out piecemeal (like are you divorced or not divorced? visitation for kids? now multiple counselors?, etc. what kind of abuse? etc).

Please know that the Atonement covers much more than our sins; it is truly all-encompassing. In order for you to become the individual Heavenly Father wants you to become you will need to learn how to rely upon the Atonement. Once you take advantage of the Atonement and gain the depth and breadth of understanding of it, the anger and the bitterness will go away. You will be able to heal yourself and become whole. Any caring or thoughts about what the Bishop, what other people think, etc. won't matter. All that will matter is your relationship with God and Christ and how they have helped you heal through the power of the Atonement.

I will caution against one thing and that is getting involved in any type of a relationship for a while-it should probably be one of the furthest things from your mind. I could be wrong on this, but from what I've gathered individuals who have been abused who do not have adequate time to heal themselves can end up in a very similar situation. Pam it's been 14 years, Quin it's been at least 5.

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Sarah,

Please understand that we want to offer the love and comfort that you are not getting from your husband or bishop. However, we also know that you've already searched out the cookie cutter answers and they are not enough. You need something which is specific to your situation. We need to understand that situation in order to offer it.

Something you alluded to was that you feel prompted to leave him, even when meditating about it in the temple. The first thing you need to do is exercise faith in yourself to receive personal revelation. If you are doing what God wants you to do, then the rest is just details. Bishops strive to repair temple marriages at all costs. They know it's a singular focus of Satan to break up a temple marriage and they would rather not give him the satisfaction.

As for emotional abuse... that is tricky to explain and even trickier when you start to realize your own part in the abuse. I am also mid-divorce. My soon-to-be-ex would probably say all the same things about me that you are alleging of your husband. Meanwhile, I feel like she is the one who emotionally abused me, and my friends and family agree. I've had to learn to put all that behind me. (it's been a year since she threw me out) I spent two weeks explicitly praying for her happiness. That helped me see her as a daughter of God again and forgive her for having the weaknesses she has. Until you can remove the anger and frustration about what has happened in the past, you can never move forward.

On that note, if there is any truth to the bishop's notion that you've said things to cast a negative light in the ward against your husband, stop. Stop it now! You don't need that negative energy around you any more than he does. Sure, you have your close confidants, and you cannot control what they share. However, you typical answer around the ward should be that it's a private matter and you'd rather not talk about it. There is a proper time and place to deal with all that has happened and facebook is not the right venue.

Please re-consider coming back to the discussion and let us help with some of your specific concerns, and by extension, offer some specific support.

Edited by ACommonMan
needed to reword a couple of thoughts.

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